Survival tips for the first days and weeks with your new baby

Jun 8, 2023

Blog contribution by: Maria Yasnova

Most people expect the first weeks with a new baby to be hard, overwhelming, sleep-deprived…

While the time is needed to adjust to new roles and a new addition to your family, this important time does not have to be stressful!


To help navigate those early days consider the following survival tips:


In our postnatal support sessions I regularly ask new mothers this question: what would be your best advice to anyone preparing for the arrival of their new baby. These three vital points are mentioned all the time.

The old saying goes ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, but in our modern world the mother often finds herself alone with the newborn or with one other adult who has to return to full time or nearly full time employment shortly after the arrival of the baby. The physical nature of caring for a young infant, who thrives in arms but is unsettled on their own, the frequent need for feeding, changing, comforting as well as keeping her own needs met to a minimal level can be exhausting if birth goes well and unsurmountable if the post-birth recovery is not straightforward.

The Circles of Support

In the haze of excitement still waiting for your baby’s arrival, take time to map out your support network (the circles of support) that you can rely on and also consider who you potentially want to avoid seeing right after birth (people should not be booking their tickets or deciding to stay at your place in the postnatal period without your prior consideration/permission!)

Starting with a blank sheet of paper, place the mother and baby in the middle with the main support partner nearby (it can be a work or art, a schematic, or simply the list of names).

Consider your first circle closest to the centre of the page as your closest family and friends. Who will you text/call in the middle of the night? Who can drop off a meal? List the names (and numbers) of those whom you won’t hesitate to ask to run an errand or complete an essential chore like washing up and those who won’t be asking for instructions but getting on with the jobs.

The next circle further out from centre can be all those who have volunteered to help but may require some nudging. This circle can include your team of essential healthcare professionals, like your midwife, health visitor, GP whom you can reach easily on a ‘need to’ basis.

It does help to keep the contact number of those healthcare professionals on hand (in your phone or on this sheet of paper on your fridge).

On a separate note, if you are feeling that someone may arrive unannounced but won’t be helpful or worse still require you to look after them,  pin a simple message on the front door ‘MOTHER AND BABY ARE SLEEPING. DO NOT DISTURB.’ To prevent the bombardment of happy well-wishers when you are catching every minute of rest  – keep your mobile phone on silent and record a clear voice mail message of what your needs are at the moment delegating all urgent communication to your main support partner/doula.

Expert Support in all areas

Finding support with various tasks does not have to be expensive.


Feeding may be high on your list of priorities as it takes most of the waking hours of the first days and weeks, so if it’s not comfortable or you have any concerns about it – do reach out as soon as possible. Feeding support is offered by midwives, your Infant Feeding Team and health visitor, but for more specialist support consider these resources:

Free support:

La Leche League GB (for local groups and phone support)

National Breastfeeding Helpline

Private visits / Zoom support from a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC):


Postnatal doulas are there to ease your load in the weeks/months after the birth of your baby. Trainee doulas are cheaper but as enthusiastic as the fully qualified ones:

Whichever area of your life you need a bit of a hand in – you are likely to find the right person locally – do ask your friends for recommendation. Put some money aside in the last few weeks of pregnancy and remember that you won’t be going out as much with a young baby,  saving money for that emergency support services when you need help in the early weeks. Best gifts can be contributions towards the vital services. Babies don’t need too much kit in those early weeks!

Investing in cleaning services or a nutritious meal subscription can be the money best spent to sustain your own needs and expectations.

Speaking of expectations, many families find it helpful to lower the standards just enough when it comes to your environment so that you don’t feel behind with the cleaning. Delegate the never-ending essential chores to friends and family, at least in the first two weeks.

Many of these things can be planned in advance, from researching your nearest feeding support group and joining the sessions in pregnancy and making friends with other pregnant mothers and feeding supporters, lining up a cleaner, subscribing to a meal delivery service or lining up grand-parents and relatives in a smart way, so they cover the gaps when the partner can’t be there due to work.

Most importantly, if you feel isolated and stressed, don’t keep suffer in silence – please reach out!

Wishing you a joyful arrival of your baby – what an exciting time!

Maria Yasnova is a Life Coach for Mothers, Lactation Consultant and Breastfeeding Counsellor.

She has been supporting women on their motherhood journey over the last 15 years starting from antenatal preparation, through birth, feeding and beyond. Maria runs her weekly support group and  her private life coaching and lactation support practice in South London.

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Maria Yasnova